by Meredith O’Brien
Putting aside the handsome chivalrous vampire/ripped boyish werewolf/confused human teenaged gal love triangle for just a moment, first things first. The Twi-moms in the house likely want to know the answer to this question: Is Eclipse  any good?
As a reader of all the Twilight books  and a repeat viewer of the first two films, I found Eclipse to be the best installment of the saga  thus far. The film version of the 629-page book was a very good adaptation, and -- this may seem heresy coming from a writer -- it seemed to move along at a smoother clip than did the book.
This film also seemed much lighter at times than the super-heavy, Romeo & Juliet “if you die then I die” New Moon  where Edward disappeared for most of the movie, taking his hair and his chemistry with him. Not so with this movie. In Eclipse, the serious and dashing Edward Cullen – who, when he wasn’t being stalkerishly overprotective of his human girlfriend Bella Swan and very traditional when it came to resisting sex before marriage, was sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic (“You’ll always be my Bella”) – was also apt to crack one-liners, like the comment he made when he saw the habitually shirtless boy-pup Jacob Black, “Doesn’t he own a shirt?” (This remark was matched by Jacob’s later comment, “Let’s face it, I’m hotter than you,” which had a duel meaning, but in that moment was literally a reference to body temperature.)
But it wouldn’t be Twilight without romantic tension. And this is where things got interesting in Eclipse. While the forward momentum of the story stemmed from the imminent threats to Bella’s life which ultimately prompted cooperation between the local vampires and werewolves to defeat an army of blood-thirsty newborn vampires hell bent on killing Bella, the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle easily overshadowed all of that action . . . as well as the question of whether 18-year-old Bella will actually marry Edward and whether he’ll, in turn, agree to transform her into a vampire, thereby ending her human life.
On this marriage matter is where Eclipse becomes a story about maternal regret and a child not wanting to repeat her mother’s mistakes. Bella’s mother Renée got married “fresh out of high school” to Bella’s dad Charlie and they had Bella soon after. The young marriage didn’t last, and by age 7, Bella found herself being shuttled back and forth between divorced parents on the weekends. Neither Bella nor Renée ever wanted Bella to reenact this process and Bella certainly didn’t envision herself getting married right out of high school.
Until she met Edward . . . who, in actuality, has been around for something like 100 years old, give or take a few decades. Edward, who desperately wants Bella to remain human and experience things like college, would be content if she never became a vampire because he thinks vampires are soulless, and on this subject, he and Jacob agree. However Edward has said he’d consent to Bella’s wish to turn her into a vampire only after she becomes his wife. And because he’s from another era – an era of chaperoned dates and official “courting” – Edward also refuses to have pre-marital sex with Bella, no matter how hard she tries to change his mind. This, of course, creates the conundrum for Bella, who, though she’s grown up amidst the wreckage of a failed marriage between two teenagers who didn’t go to college, wants to become a vampire as soon as possible for two reasons: So she can have relations with Edward and so she won’t have to worry about her humanity posing a threat to Edward and his adopted vampire family, or to Jacob and his fellow werewolves, who wind up protecting her as well.
And despite all of this “protecting” Bella received from her monster friends, what I most liked about the film – and this part is a spoiler so if you haven’t read the book yet you may be reluctant to read further – in the end, Bella is the one who helps save her ever vigilant protector Edward with her quick-thinking moves. That was after she took a stand against Edward’s well intentioned yet super-controlling ways, having gone to visit Jacob over Edward’s objections, and after she punched Jacob in the jaw for kissing her against her will. Though she hurt her hand in the process, she sent Jacob a clear message.
So while the film may have been bookended by scenes featuring a gorgeous field of flowers, with Edward professing his love to his fragile human blossom of a girlfriend, the willful Bella proved herself to be not so fragile after all, not so delicate in the face of vampires and werewolves. In this fairy tale, the fair maiden was a hero too.